Last-minute substitution Avtandil Khurtsidze made the most of last night’s Showtime card by brutalizing Antoine Douglas and handing the promising prospect a 10th round stoppage defeat. When this fight hits YouTube in its entirety, do yourself a favor and track it down.
SIZE DOESN’T MATTER: From a physicality standpoint, what Khurtsidze accomplished was truly remarkable. The diminutive, 37 year old middleweight stands at 5’4 with a 66.5 reach. Opposing him was an undefeated, 23 year old Douglas who stands 6’0, possesses a 74 inch reach, and had a 20 foot ring to work with.
That mattered little when the bang rang.
The ring might as well have been 10 feet. When Douglas tried to get space, Khurtsidze would have him trapped on the ropes within 10 seconds. In close quarters, Khurtsidze devoured Douglas with short, vicious hooks. Although Douglas was in excellent shape, the fight took on the appearance of a kid getting bullied by a full grown man. Douglas had neither the punching power nor physical strength to get Khurtsidze off him.
When Douglas found out Sam Soliman was pulling out, I’m sure he had no idea that this type of dog was waiting for him.
TOO MUCH HEART?: Douglas took an absolute beating throughout the night. His face sported cuts around both eyes, pronounced face swelling, and a bloody mouth. Khurtsidze’s debilitating body assault certainly did massive internal damage. Counter hooks put Douglas down hard in the third and seventh rounds. Each time Douglas was gone, but fought on pure instinct to make it out the rounds.
Should Douglas’ corner have pulled him before the stoppage in the 10th? He had some very good moments in the later rounds where he took full advantage of Khurtsidze trying to coast. Because there wasn’t one-way traffic, it becomes a gray area judgment call where we trust the trainer knows his fighter well.
If not for his exceptional physical condition, Douglas would not have made it to the final bell. The question now becomes if this fight has taken a permanent pound of flesh.